The most common choice for self-publishers when releasing a new title or edition is either an ebook or a paperback version of their title: the production is fast and inexpensive, if done through a Print-on-Demand (POD) service company.
It requires only the expense for a professional book lay-outer or a software program if you are skilled and patient.
Why a Hardcover Version of Your Book?
A hardcover or hardback is a book, bound with a thick protective cover, with usually a paper dust jacket over the main cover. The aim of hardcover books is protection and durability. These books are mainly for long-term use. The paper used is long-lasting acid-free type. This paper has a pH value of 7 (neutral) which makes it highly durable. The pages are stitched and glued to the spine.
There are situations when it is better to have a hard cover version available, such as for a special gift, or when you are approaching TV stations or magazine/newspaper editors due to an interview or a review of your book.
If you want to sell books to libraries, then it’s almost a requirement to have a hardcover version – or it is at least a good selling point. And with good reason: library books go through dozens, if not hundreds of hands.
If you are writing book series, you can “bundle” them, obtain a new ISBN, and create a hardcover version out of two or three paperbacks.
Photo books, also often called coffee table books, would look ridiculous in paperback. They are almost always created as hardcover books.
Last but not least, the margins for hardcovers are much higher than for paperbacks. While the print- and binding costs might be a bit higher (mostly 30 – 40%) the recommended retail prices are almost always double the price of a paperback.
- Is your book likely to be popular and used as a reference work or will it likely become a bestseller? Then choose hardback first.
- Is your book testing the waters, a first off print run, a specialist topic? Choose softcover first.
- Are you trying to keep down the costs of your print run? If so, choose softcover print first.
- What are your readers likely to prefer?
Who Offers Hardcover Books in Small Quantities?
Certainly book printers. However, the costs are prohibitive if you are only ordering a dozen books. Printing larger amounts of hardcovers makes only sense if an author has already hundreds or thousands of books – maybe through a crowd funding campaign.
You might work with IngramSpark for the creation and distribution of your paperbacks. For example if you are fed up with CreateSpace, or if you want a better distribution channel than CS offers.
As you can find out with the help of IngramSparks’ Print and Shipping Calculator, in many cases you will earn double the revenue with a hardcover book, even if you deduct the wholesale discount for retailers and bookstores.
Start with small print runs, to make sure you are not left with surplus stock. Announce your hardcover version before you place your print order, and set it up on Amazon, Apple, and other online retailers for pre-order – possible at Amazon three months and at Apple iBooks twelve months in advance.
Marketing Benefits of Hardcover Books
A prime reason to produce a hardback edition is to use them as delightful gifts at any special events in your calendar. It’s a great way to add a second launch for your title, if a paperback was your first book edition. Build up momentum for your work once again. It not only shows you are serious, and invested in your work, but it is also a way to attract new readers, who are drawn to fabulous titles. It does not need to go as far as David Barringer writes, “The marketing of hardcover books has gone hard-core consumerist, tricking out books into luxury objects and personality accessories”.
Having a hardback edition of your title set up and enabled for distribution on your IngramSpark account also allows bookstores more choice in which format to stock your book in. With the launch of ipage®, bookstores now have more opportunity to order from Ingram’s catalogue of over 14 million titles, and with free shipping on orders going to a UK address, they benefit from ordering directly from Ingram.
The Economist wrote: “Some recent releases have sold more copies in hardback than paperback, as paperback readers turn to e-books. Some in the industry think that e-books may eventually replace paperbacks. But many are confident that the sturdy hardback will endure.”
Hardcover books are really worth considering!
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